ART packs for children bored at home and online zumba sessions are helping to spread a little joy in the north of the city thanks to a hardworking ‘wee charity with a big heart’.

New Rhythms For Glasgow is pulling out all the stops to help families already living tough lives deal with life during Covid-19.

“Our first thought was that the people we work with really do not have a lot of money, and they are already dealing with really difficult situations,” explains manager Kirsteen Marshall.

“We wanted to do help them, and try to keep some of our activities going online, like arts and crafts classes for families.

“But we knew some of our families wouldn’t have the art materials at home – so we decided to make up some packs.”

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STV’s Children’s Appeal got wind of the scheme and donated £2000 to help cover the cost of the packs, adds Kirsteen, who has been zipping around Sighthill, Springburn and Maryhill delivering to local art fans.

“That funding was a fantastic boost,” she says. “My house is now wall to wall art packs and we are getting them out as fast as we can. We also tried to provide mobile phones and tablets for people who didn’t have any.

“The classes are up and running and they are going so well – it’s a lot of fun. Our latest one was a ‘message in a bottle’ craft session and we asked people to write a letter to themselves that they could open once Covid-19 finally disappears. It was really moving.”

Kirsteen, whose background is in dance and social work, says the most vulnerable in communities are at risk like never before as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

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“I am used to working with people who, for whatever reason, are finding life difficult – people who choose to isolate themselves, who experience real loneliness,” she says.

“But I have never experienced mass loneliness, nor such widespread uncertainty, as what we are facing today.

“What we are trying to do is support people as best we can, spread a little positivity and hope, and let them know it will be over, just hang on in there and we can get through this.”

New Rhythms For Glasgow was originally set up around 20 years ago, but in recent months it has been revamped and revitalised and, says Kirsteen, is now thriving.

“We’re a wee charity with a big heart,” she explains. “It started as a grassroots community project, and we have very much gone back to those roots.

“Music, dance and art are the focus, working with people in recovery from addiction or living with serious and enduring mental health issues.

“In partnership with addiction services and the NHS, we are trying to help those really in need to survive in a difficult world.”

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The group runs weekly music sessions, with support from New College Lanarkshire, who provide tutors.

“We have our amazing youth group, Red Rubies, a brilliant band of young people which writes, records, distributes and performs its own original music,” says Kirsteen.

“It’s a fantastic project which is all about nurturing young talent and supporting them into further education and employment.”

She adds: “We also run breakdancing sessions, DJ workshops, dance – you name it.

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“On top of the weekly activities we also organise and support community events in Sighthill and Springburn – recent ones included a spooky community cinema night for Halloween, a lantern-making event for Christmas and a summer party.”

She adds: “We reach around 50 people through direct support, and hundreds more through our fantastic community events. We’re like a wee family.”

Life in the city may have changed completely but Glaswegians still have plenty of heart.

Looking after each other is the cornerstone of the Glasgow Times Streets Ahead campaign, which has been bringing neighbours together to improve their communities since 2011.

Now, more than ever, people are pulling together – and Streets Ahead is here to help.

Our initiative, backed by Glasgow City Council, City Charitable Trust, CGI and City Building shines a light on the men, women and children working hard to improve their local areas for the benefit of all.

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Over the previous eight years, we have celebrated their excellent efforts across a whole range of projects, from creating gorgeous community gardens out of nothing, to rallying neighbours together for clean-ups and more.

At our annual awards ceremony, we pay tribute to the unsung heroes - the fantastic individuals and groups who do so much for their neighbours without looking for any praise or recognition.

Read more: Streets Ahead - calling all Glasgow schoolkids and community groups

Now that city life is very different for all of us as the coronavirus outbreak keeps everyone at home and social distancing means many community events and projects have been postponed or closed, communities are finding new ways to support each other.

We want you to tell us about what you are doing to help your community, and let us know how we can help spread the word or rally support for you.

Tell us about the superhero neighbours helping you in your time of need and the key workers keeping your community going.

Send us your stories and photos and we will help you spread the word. Email